TuesdaysWithMorrie photo 4 1600 1

tuesdays with morrie schwartz and the little wave

AT OUR HOUSE, we watch a lot of movies, but never any ac­tual tele­vi­sion shows—at least as they are being broad­cast. We don’t have cable and our set isn’t set up to pick up local sta­tions. We do pick up highly rec­om­mended tv se­ries on DVD and then we binge-watch!

We have re­cently en­joyed Ally McBeal (keep in mind that no matter their age, these shows are ‘new’ to us), Six Feet Under, Weeds (great balls of fire but Mary-Louise Parker gets more lovely as she ages), The Big Bang Theory (still in progress), The Big C, and Third Rock From The Sun (which tends to­wards the te­dious).

We are cur­rently watching the third season of the com­plete Se­in­feld. Does anyone not from the East Coast (the “East Coast” being those states from Mary­land through Maine) un­der­stand the mo­ti­va­tion of these people and the ‘in’ humor?

It’s kinda like trying to find a Woody Allen fan who was born out­side of that same East Coast—I know they exist, but they sure seem hard to find at times, even here in the lib­eral and in­tel­lec­tual Pa­cific North­west.


Little Wave: photo of Calista Flockhart as Ally McBeal.

Cal­ista Flock­hart as Ally McBeal, a show that was part comedy and part drama with touches of sur­re­alism that made it stand out from all its com­peti­tors.

A few series that we own

We even buy movies on DVD, usu­ally used copies. As more and more modern viewers be­come ever more en­gaged with the ad­vances in tech­nology and watch their movies via streaming, it’s get­ting easier to buy used DVDs for a buck or two!

The com­plete Northern Ex­po­sure was one of our first ac­qui­si­tion. As Berni lived in Alaska for fif­teen years, this lovely show—worth watching if only for Chris-in-the-morning and Mar­ilyn Whirlwind—will prob­ably al­ways be her per­sonal fave.


You don’t un­der­stand! We’re all going to crash!! All of us are going to be nothing!!!


We ab­solutely loved the hints of sci­ence fic­tion or fan­tasy that seemed the foun­da­tion of the ini­tially great Lost. But even though the script and the con­cept got lost along the way, we bought the set and some of the ex­tras jus­ti­fied the cost!

Our cur­rent ‘all-time’ fa­vorite is Firefly, which we saw in re­sponse to stum­bling over the movie Serenity. We were both amazed by seeing that on the big screen; I re­marked while leaving the the­ater, I re­marked that it was one of the best sci­ence fiction-based ac­tion movies I had ever seen and Berni con­curred!

But that’s an­other story.

Mostly, we pull our viewing ma­te­rial from the King County Li­brary System, con­sid­ered one of the finest such sys­tems in the country.


Little Wave: photo of Morrie Schwartz and Mitch Albom.

Morrie and Mitch.

So we watch a lot of movies

Be­cause we do not watch broad­cast tele­vi­sion, we get to see a lot of movies. The plus is ob­vious: we see many, many movies that are rel­a­tively ob­scure but are more than mem­o­rable. A fave that I love to rec­om­mend is Cold Com­fort Farm, which stars an ab­solutely de­lightful young Kate Beck­in­sale (who doesn’t look or act or feel re­motely like the person with the same name who has made a ca­reer out of star­ring in em­i­nently for­get­table ac­tion movies).

Re­cently we watched Tues­days With Morrie, star­ring Jack Lemmon as Morrie Schwartz, and Hank Azaria as Mitch Albom. Schwartz was a so­ci­ology pro­fessor at Bran­deis Uni­ver­sity, and the movie is based on ob­ser­va­tions that he made while dying of Amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­rosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease).


“If you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too—even when you’re in the dark.” 


Mor­rie’s rec­ol­lec­tions, ob­ser­va­tions, and anec­dotes were col­lected into a book ti­tled Let­ting Go – Re­flec­tions On Living While Dying (1996). This was fol­lowed a year later by Tues­days With Morrie by Mitch Albom. 1

Albom was one of Mor­rie’s fa­vorite stu­dents but been out of touch with his mentor for years. When he pays Morrie a sur­prise visit, he learns that his teacher is in the final stages of dying. Tuesday visits with Morrie be­come rou­tine, and the teacher makes his final project a se­ries of ‘lessons’ to teach Mitch how to live life.

The book and the film rec­og­nize Mor­rie’s in­de­fati­gable spirit, de­spite the fa­tigue that his body was un­der­going during the final months of his life. Mor­rie’s puckish sense of humor colors each lesson.


Little Wave: Front cover of first edition hardcover of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE.

First edi­tion hard­cover of Tues­days With Morrie (Dou­bleday, 1997).

All part of something bigger

Morrie re­lays a little story that had me pressing the back button on the re­mote con­trol to hear it again. And again. I have told this briefest of sto­ries to sev­eral friends (mod­estly edited by me).

“A little wave is bob­bing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s en­joying the wind and the fresh air—until he no­tices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore.

‘My God, this is ter­rible,’ the little wave thinks. ‘Look what’s going to happen to me!’

Then along comes an­other, bigger wave. It sees the little wave looking grim, and says to him, ‘Why do you look so sad?’

The little wave says, ‘You don’t un­der­stand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it ter­rible?’

The bigger wave says, ‘No, you don’t un­der­stand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.’ ”

Get it?

We’re not alone.

We’re all part of some­thing bigger …

If you’re ever going to have people trust you, you must feel you can trust them, too. Click To Tweet

FEATURED IMAGE: Morrie (Jack Lemmon) having a day out and about with Mitch (Hank Azaria) in a scene from Tues­days With Morrie. Lemmon played the part to per­fec­tion, but as the film was made for tele­vi­sion, he could not be nom­i­nated for an Academy Award. How­ever, he did win an Emmy. It was Lem­mon’s last film be­fore he died and should stand as a tribute to the actor, as Being There does for Peter Sellers. 2


1   After the suc­cess of Tues­days With Morrie, the ear­lier Let­ting Go was re­pub­lished as Morrie – In His Own Words.

2   Alas, being a made-for-tv movie, Tues­days With Morrie has not re­ceived the ac­cla­ma­tion that Sellers’ movie did …

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Bravo! More re­views please. This was most en­ter­taining and mo­ti­vating. Pam and I went without TV for the last eight years in Key West. We did the same as you guys. Net­flix, li­brary $1 garage sale DVDs, etc. Your story of Morrie is ex­cel­lent. I will try and see it while we are on the road. Also, one of my all time fa­vorites is Being There. Per­haps it is be­cause, when it comes to DVD movies, I LIKE TO WATCH ! ! !